While a lot of shopping is of course done online, people still flock to ‘old-fashioned’ bricks and mortar stores for the physical shopping experience of browsing items, touching them trying them on and getting real-person help.
With 5G, retailers will welcome an abundance of bandwidth and low-latency communication. This will help customers enjoy better experiences in-store such as:
- Beacons – These can send useful, store specific messages to customers while they’re browsing in-store, offer information about sales and competitions, act as a store map/guide, details on offers – especially offers personalized to specific customers. They can also track the customer’s journey in the store, collecting valuable data on what customers are into.
- Magic mirrors – Touch screen mirrors in interactive fitting rooms mean customers need no longer dart in and out of these changing rooms trying to get their outfit on point. A touch screen interface means shoppers can request immediate assistance for different outfits or completely different garments altogether, and the mirror can even suggest items that would pair well with what they’re trying on.
- The way you move – Understanding the customer is usually top of mind for retailers and heat mapping can help. By heat mapping their customers’ journeys using security footage, retailers can understand the way their customers move through the store and what catches their attention.
- A living storefront – A large part of what entices people into a store is what’s in the front and an interactive storefront can engage potential or returning customers using touch screens, videos, social media displays and anything the creative mind can conjure up. Shoppers can get a comprehensive idea of what’s at the store before even setting foot inside it, and beautiful displays can go far to drawing people not just into the store, but to the brand at large.
- Handy handsets – With a breadth of knowledge at the touch of their fingers, shop assistants can be all knowing in a quick moment to the benefit of the discerning customer. They can check store inventory, give detailed information on particular products and much more.
- The reality of shopping - Virtual shelves will means less space is taken up, and virtual and/or augmented reality means that if the customer is shopping for say, a bed, VR/AR can help them to see what it looks like with different sheets for example.
It’s only a matter of time before we see the promise of 5G become a part of everyday retail. Stores must keep the increasingly mobile-focused, tech-savvy customer in mind as they transition into their own digital transformation.